Research project: "AutoInspect"

Research area: Automation, robotics and non-destructive testing
Funded by: Federal Ministry for Economics and Technology
In collaboration with: Lufthansa Technik,Vision Machine Technic Image Processing Systems GmbH
Start of the project: April 2011
End of the project: December 2015


The content of the “AutoInspect” research project is the automation of the inspection of engine components for cracks using the white light interferometry process. Cracks occur after material fatigue during active flight operations due to high thermal loads during combustion. These cracks in engine components are currently detected manually using the “dye penetration method”. This process has long been established in aviation, but has weaknesses in the area of the information content of the damage data and the reproducibility of the inspection results.  An automatic inspection process using the optical method of white light interferometry, on the other hand, reproducibly provides various geometric damage information so that a component history can be compiled. The IFPT's tasks in this project include the area of sensor handling with an industrial robot. The technology of white light interferometry has a very high resolution in the µm range, but only has a small measuring volume. Together with the damaged and deformed components, the measuring area represents a major challenge for a fully automatic inspection. Intelligent processes, algorithms and control approaches for the robot had to be developed in order to plan model-based robot paths that are individually adapted to the geometric characteristics of a component and provide a complete inspection. As part of this project, the AutoXIV software was also created, with which both an industrial robot and various sensors can be controlled online and robot paths can be planned and simulated offline on point cloud models. A research demonstrator is currently being integrated into active repair operations as part of an industrialization phase.


Contact person at the institute: Dipl.-Ing. Tomas Domaschke